Monday, October 8, 2012
Review: Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Sky Chasers
Publication: October 7th 2011
Publisher: Macmillan Children's
Paperback, 385 pages
Buy: The Book Depository
I rated Glow somewhat higher than I normally rate this type of books, due solely to the incredibly strong emotional impact it had on me. Some of the characters in it might prove forgettable in time, but I will never forget the pressing, claustrophobic feeling it left me with.
I’ve read a few reviews in advance and I was prepared to be unsettled by it, but nothing could prepare me for this story in which people, every last one of them, were monsters, usually hidden behind a very pleasant façade.
When, decades ago, two identical ships were launched into space on a mission to find New Earth and settle, everyone thought their chances of survival were pretty much the same. After all, the only difference between them was the religious conviction of their respective crews.
Weaverly and Kieran belong to the first generation of children born on the Empyrean – the ship with a non-religious crew. They are both fifteen and thinking about getting married – in their circumstances, children are always welcome, no matter how young the parents. They have their lives planned out for them and they’re happy with the way things are going. But the New Horizon crew hasn’t had as much luck. They haven’t been able to procreate at all, which means their crew is fairly old and they are pretty desperate. Their solution is to attack the Empyrean and steal all their girls, nearly destroying the ship in the process. Suddenly, Weaverly and Kieran aren’t even on the same ship and each of them is dealing with a different set of disasters.
The name Weaverly seems like an odd and unfortunate choice, especially for third person narration. Since Ryan seems to harbor a strong dislike for personal pronouns, it’s used in almost every sentence, and, being a mouthful, it clogs the natural flow of sentences and makes the already thick narrative even harder to read. That is, writing-wise, the only objection I really have. Amy Kathleen Ryan showed unusual skill and control.
Because so many awful, hateful things happen in it, Glow is a hard book to like. There is no real warmth between the characters, nothing even remotely positive or hopeful, just violence, horrible moral choices and more violence. One couldn’t exactly call Kieran a hero, not by any stretch of the imagination, and the same goes for the rest of the characters. They behaved exactly as one would expect people in such an isolated environment to behave: they have deviated drastically from moral and ethical standards of society.
Faced with a crew made up entirely of rebellious boys, Kieran decided to lead them through a religion he pretty much made up on the spot. The ease with which this decision was made and the way those boys accepted it was incredibly creepy and eye-opening. Their sudden faith in Kieran was alarming, and the speed with which this cult of personality arose staggering.
There are many more things that unsettled me and kept me awake at night, but writing about them would give away too much of the plot. It’s best to go into this book knowing very little about it. Fortunately, I have the sequel, Spark, on hand, but I’m not brave enough to read it right away. My poor little heart needs a lengthy break.